The future of the territorial state workshop

This two-day lunch-to-lunch workshop invites state scholars from different disciplinary traditions to share ideas and discuss how we might better understand and conceptualize the new modes and manifestations of state territoriality, governmentality and governance. The workshop will be held on December 10–11, 2018 at the University of Helsinki (Porthania, Yliopistonkatu 3).

Event: Scientific workshop on state territories/territoriality

Date: December 10–11,2018

Organizers: Juho Luukkonen & Sami Moisio, RELATE Centre of Excellence, Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki

Venue: University of Helsinki, Yliopistonkatu 3, Porthania

The scope of the workshop

The questions of what is state and how to explore it analytically have gained new relevance during the last few decades among academics. Such societal phenomena as the increase of the global interdependencies of the economies, the formation of international and subnational political organizations and the transnationalization of policy making stimulated many scholars and consultants to proclaim in the 1990s the hollowing out or retreat of the territorial nation-state. However, while this is still popular prophecy in particular political cadres, scholars across social sciences and humanities have proven that this is not the case. Many have argued that rather than withering away states have been under constant change over the past decades as part of global capitalist restructuring – and that this transformation has notable spatial dimensions. States continue to play significant role as political actors and sites of political struggles in various geographical scales.

The afore-mentioned state transformation have posed serious philosophical and methodological challenges for academic scholars studying the state. The conventional understandings of the state as a neatly demarcated territorial container or as a unified territorial actor seem not to provide fruitful starting points for grasping the complex and refined relations of authority, power and territoriality of which the state is constituted.

This two-day lunch-to-lunch workshop invites state scholars from different disciplinary traditions to share ideas and discuss how we might better understand and conceptualize the new modes and manifestations of state territoriality, governmentality and governance.

While there have been various academic debates on the changes in the states’ political and administrative structures already for decades, this workshop brings to the fore three particularly important debates. The first debate dates back to the early 1980s when geographers called for the establishment of “new regional geography” approach. Since then, the tradition has oriented scholars for studying states and other territorial configurations and theirs restructuring in the context of broader societal processes and thus, liberating inquiries from the “territorial trap” of nation-states and other taken for granted spatial-political structures. Second debate, in which especially planning and policy scholars have been actively involved, concerns the emergence of soft spaces of governance and the global circulation of policy ideas and the corollary consequences for the state territoriality in the increasingly “post-political” and “neoliberal” world. Third and the most recent debate concerns the relationship between the territorial state and global urbanization, a relationship that brings to the fore the co-constitution of material aspects of global capitalism and state territorial re-structuring.

The workshop seeks to bring together these somewhat unconnected strands of research and to gather together a multi-disciplinary group of academic scholars interested in state as a spatial-political actor and/or object of politics and technologies of government. The workshop involves two parts. During the first day, we’ll have two key note speeches by well-known international scholars and a panel discussion based on Sami Moisio’s recent book Geopolitics of the Knowledge-Based Economy. The second day consist of two sessions in which the participants present their current research related to the scope of the event.

We welcome both empirical and theoretical contributions to the sessions. Potential topics include but are not limited to: urbanization of the nation-state; the role of planning in state spatial restructuring; transnational policy-making and central government; city-state relations; state territorial transformation and global capitalism; the role of experts and consultants in guiding state related policy-making.

Scholars interested in state theories and/or doing research on states can participate to the workshop either with full paper, shorter texts discussing “work in progress” or with bullet points listing initial ideas and thoughts on the state-related research. Participants are expected to give a short presentation laying out the main questions they wish to address (10–15 minutes), followed by 5 minutes of discussion.

Please note that only previously unpublished papers or those not already committed elsewhere can be accepted. The organizers plan to publish a special issue or edited volume with selected papers presented in this workshop.

Program of the workshop

December 10, 2018 (Venue, University of Helsinki, Yliopistonkatu 3 (Porthania), room P219 (Lehtisali, 2nd floor)

12.00 Opening words, Sami Moisio, Professor, University of Helsinki, Finland
12.05 Keynote presentation: The Innovative State: Policy-Making Under Conditions of Uncertainty, Hanna Ylöstalo, University Researcher, University of Helsinki, Finland
13.15 Coffee 
13.45 Keynote presentation:  Cities as alternative spaces in the age of national revanchism and platform capitalism: Possibilities and challenges, Ugo Rossi, Associate Professor, University of Turin, Italy
15.00 Panel discussion: Geopolitics of the Knowledge-Based Economy

Panelists: Sami Moisio, Ugo Rossi, Hanna Ylöstalo, Reijo Miettinen
19.00 Dinner

December 11, 2018 (Venue, University of Helsinki, Yliopistonkatu 3 (Porthania), room 344 (Neukkari, 3rd floor)

9.00  Session I – Technologies and techniques for governing state territory

  • Juho Luukkonen & Sami Moisio (University of Helsinki, Finland): The territory work of the European Union: the constitutive role of scientific knowledge in crafting the European economic territory
  • Loris Servillo (University College of London, UK): Regioncraft in the shadow of State hierarchy: the case of the CLLD policy instrument
  • Franziska Sielker (University of Cambridge/University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, UK/Germany) & Estelle Evrard (University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg): Territoriality and Spatiality - two paramount concepts in furthering European Integration Theory

10.45 Coffee 

11.00 Session II – Sites and spaces of state territorial governance 

  • Eva Purkarthofer (Aalto University, Finland) : Understanding soft territorial governance: The state as (soft) space, institution and organization
  • Katharina Koch (University of Oulu, Finland): The role of the urban sphere in de- and re-bordering processes
  • Wolfgang Haupt & Alessandro Coppola (Gran Sasso Science Institute, Italy): Climate governance in transnational municipal networks - Review, classification and ways forward

12.30 Lunch

13.30 Session III – Ideologies and imaginaries transforming state territory

  • Heikki Sirviö (University of Oulu, Finland) & Juho Luukkonen (University of Helsinki, Finland): Metropolitanizing a Nordic State? City-regionalist Imaginary and State Territorial Restructuring in Finland
  • Christine Habbard (Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore): Cosmopolitanism, the Nation-state and the Modern Concept of Space
  • Michael Mießner (Georg-August-University of Goettingen, Germany): The neoliberalisation of German spatial planning during the crisis: A historical materialist policy analysis
  • Christopher Lizotte (University of Helsinki, Finland): Taking back control? Territorial narrative and the populist challenge to the state

14.30 Workshop ends

For more information, please contact:

Juho Luukkonen

Institute of Urban and Regional Studies

Department of Geosciences and Geography

University of Helsinki

tel. +358503046766